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Russia 51, John Kerry 16, United States 15, Crimea 13, U.s. 9, Us 6, China 5, Nato 4, Ukraine 4, Christiane Amanpour 4, Kerry 3, The United States 3, Kiev 3, Israel 3, America 3, Michael Hirsch 2, Benjamin Netanyahu 2, Vladmir 2, Yanukovich 2, Sochi 2,
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  CNN    This Hour With Berman and Michaela    Breaking news and  
   developing stories.  

    March 4, 2014
    8:00 - 9:01am PST  

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breaking his silence, russian president, vladmir putin defends sending troops into ukraine and declares it is humanitarian mission and warns th more force remains an option. the president wants to expand a tax credit for the middle class and the working poor. an emotional testimony at
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the blade runners trial in south africa. neighbors describes the screams before he shot and killed his girlfriend. hello, everyone. i'm john berman. michaela pereira is off today. with he would like to welcome our viewers here and around the world. we will have those stories and more at this hour. a knew escalation in the crisis in ukraine. reuters news agency is reporting that the russian navy is blocking a channel between crimea and russia. we are waiting for a critical news conference from secretary of state, john kerry are, at the center of the worst crisis since russia and the west. i arrived in kiev just hours ago. one of his first stops in independence square. you can see him at the makeshift memorial being created to honor those killed in the
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demonstrations on the street. the secretary of state is offering money and support to the new government. on the front lines, tensions are rigz. are rising. >> that was a dramatic picture seen at a military base in crimea. russian troops said they fired warning shots in the air as unarmed ukrainian soldiers approached them. most importantly for today, for the first time since this crisis began, we have heard directly from russian president vladmir putin. he was defiant. his first news conference since ordering the military into ukraine. he says, there is no need to use more force for now. he does warn that any force does remain an option.
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>> translator: if i make the decision to use military force, it will be completely legitimate and correspond to the norms of international law because we have the request of the legitimate president and corresponds to our interest in protecting the people who are close to us historically. >> with that, the russian leader put down a kind of marker. i want to bring in our matthew chance. he joins us now from kiev. here with me in new york is our chief international correspondent, christiane amanpour. you were in independent square a little while ago when the secretary of state, john kerry, pass by. what are people in kiev, in ukraine, hoping to hear from the secretary of state when he speaks a few minutes from now? >> reporter: i have been in
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independence square for the past few days where there are these very emotional scenes with people laying flowers on the barricades. there were battles between the protesters and the police. it has become a memorial to the people that died mainly shot by snipers. you can see people still laying flowers into the evening. very important for the people of this part of ukraine at least that john kerry was seen here in independence square paying his respects to the people that lost their lives here, sort of laying a memorial to them as well. they are looking for him now to take strong action to put whatever diplomatic, financial, and political pressure he can on russia, along with his allies in the international community, to pull back from their position in ukraine. what exactly those levers are, remains unclear for the moment. what's been announced coinciding with john kerry's visit but the u.s. is $1 billion in a credit line, credit guarantees to enable them to get through this
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very difficult period and buy energy supplies into the country. also, expertise being given by the u.s. to the finance ministry and central bank to plan their economy a little bit better. what's happening now is that john kerry is speaking with members of the interim ukrainian government to talk about what concrete steps the united states and others in the international community can take to help them out in this difficult position, to try and put pressure on the russians and get them through this very tight financial squeeze that they are going to be in over the coming weeks and months. >> matthew chance in kiev. we are waiting for secretary of state, john kerry. he will hold a news conference there in about 30 minutes. we will get that live. i want to go to christiane amanpour. let's talk about president vladmir putin. he said that the current government in ukraine is illegitimate and russia reserves the right to use more force in ukraine if he wants to. those are strong words. amidst all that, you detected if
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not conciliation, at least reason to hope that the situation will not deteriorate more today. >> it is unclear which audiences he was addressing. for the western and international audience, he said, russia has no interest in a annexing crimea for the ukraine but he did reserve the right to do so. i did lay into the new ukrainian authorities, basically, distinguishing between the new parliament which he says is legitimate and the new which are not. it is hard to see how he can keep saying that president yanukovich is the legitimate president of the you crain. that is his position. he has a major act of diplomatic high wire to try to achieve. somehow, an off ramp for the russians and somehow to get some kind of mediated negligeotiatio
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direct negotiation between them and whatever leadership they are willing to talk to. >> the stock market seems to think things are calming down. the russian president said some things that seem to be completely at odds with the reality that the united states and ukraine are depicting. he said, among other things, the troops that have operational control, he says, they are not russian troops. you can pick up those uniforms anywhere. he continues to proclaim this humanitarian mission is to defend people from neonazis and anti-sem mit anti-semites. madeleine a madelei madeleine albright called him delusional.
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>> this is all made up. it is part of a much longer term plan that putin has had which is to cry to recreate some form of relationship between ukraine and moscow. that is the tragedy going on. putin is in many ways delusional about this. >> you are nodding your head to madeline albright. >> on the issue of ukraine, merkel is reported to have said that she believed putin was out of touch with reality, in another world on this issue. diplomatic people have told me, that means that in her private conversation with putin, private conversation, where presumably, these two leaders could speak frankly, putin persisted in laying out his theory as to why this was going on rather than actually talking mono y mono to
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a fellow leader. he was not able to do anything except stick to their russian narrative of what's going on. this is what we understand to be a fairly false narrative. one that's been manufactured by the russians to establish some kind of desperation within ukraine by the russian speakers and the ethnic russians. that gives their legitimacy to occur if they decide they need to. putin has backed off slightly but kept the muscle flexing on the table. christiane amanpour, cnn's chief international correspondent, xwr great to have you here. cnn does have people all over the couldn't interest i right now. thanks so much, christiane. other news we want to tell you about. israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, peace is israel's
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highest aspiration. >> this would be good for us and the palestinians but it would open up the possibility of establishing formal ties between israel and leading countries in the arab world. many arab leaders, this is a fact, no the a hypothesis. this is a fact. many arab leaders already realize that israel is not their enemy but peace with the palestinians would turn our relations with them and with many arab countries into open and thriving relationships. >> prime minister benjamin netanyahu. the president proposing his federal budget for 2013. this includes help for low and middle income family, a month late delayed by bickering over
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the current markets u.s. stocks up big, rebounding big-time thanks to the comments of russian president, vladmir putin. he flames that he has no intention of annexing ukraine's crimea reasonable yun. the dow up 200 points. this comes a day after the stocks plummeted because of worries over ukraine. vladmir putin says the military option is still on the table as the crisis continues. developments every minute here. can diplomas sacy and the threa standoff really complicate this situation? that's next. now you can create your own perfect plate of pasta at olive garden, with our new cucina mia menu, for just $9.99. choose the homemade sauce that tempts you the most. like our addictively creamy garlic asiago, devilishly spicy diavolo or garden-fresh primavera with roasted vegetables.
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welcome back. at this minute, we are awaiting a news conference from secretary of state, john kerry, in kiev, visiting the country as the crisis continues. we will bring you that news conference the second it begins ukraine is calling russia's move an act of aggression. the united states calls it a violation of international law. russia's envoy to the you nations says a treaty does allow up to 25,000 troops in crimea. while the west cease vladmir putin's move as military aggression, one journalist says, we are not he seeing a return to the hold war. >> i think the whole idea have o putin bashing is something very much in the context of cold war. i think america is reacting in
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that context. if it is russia, it is cold war and the enemy. i think they are overdoing it. i don't think sanctions are going to help anybody, certainly not the united states. russia will somehow manage. >> is the u.s. seeing this as another cold war crisis? i bring in my guest, douglas brinkly and michael hirsch. doug, let me start with you. if it is not the cold war, what is it then? at a certain level, it is a classic battle about spheres of influence. >> it is not the cold war that putin is stalin massacring his own people. he is not in 1956 where he could run into hungary and we would do nothing. russia is part of the g-8.
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we have tools to punish him in a different 21st century way, a noncold war wear, economic sanctions t was devastate russia. just yesterday, the russian stock market was starting to tumble. which can start isolating putin in a way. it makes sense this all rings our cold war bell. we don't want to exaggerate. america has some responses that we didn't have during the cold war years. >> of course, the market has regained almost all of its losses yesterday. if there are tools out there to use, the question is, how will the u.s. use them? you say this is the toughest crisis president obama has faced so far. there are people that say, we make that statement about every next crisis. what makes this one so tough and important? >> well, because it does have echos of the cold war. it is not the cold war. putin clearly sees this as a battle of series of influence.
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this is the culmination of a 20-year period when there has been a westward expansion, post-nato and the eu into what was formerly seen as the soviet-russian sphere. putin has reacted. these are still two nuclear armed countries. the western countries look to obama in this crisis, to an american president, much more than they would in the issues with syria and iran. frankly, this president, obama, has to deal with the perception of indecisiveness and weakness that i think putin to some degree at least might be reacting to. so this is a very big test for him, not just in terms of an american response but in terms of a united response, which, frankly, we haven't seen too much of yet. >> it seems to me there are two issues here. one is solving this crisis or at least finding a way out of this crisis in ukraine. the second is protecting the role of the united states in
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global affairs coming forward. fighting what you mean to be this perception of weakness. first, to you and then to michael here. how important is the ukraine to r protecting this image the united states says it wants to have going forward? >> it is very important. let's be honest, we are not going to go to war over what's a former soviet satellite of ukraine. it is becoming very much that. does nato matter anymore? we are having to ask ourselves a lot of questions. a lot of roads may lead to china. what if we keep the g-8 but this year china is invited in place of russia, for example? we have developed all these trade relations with china. it is starting to work fairly well recently even though there are human rights concerns. we have tool ns our kit to punish putin. we must do that.
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>> michael? >> i agree. there is no military response that is really thinkable. you can still have two countries with thousands of nuclear warheads. in that respigot, not much different than 1956 when eisenhower declined to respond to the hungarian invasion. there are economic tools, a whole array of them as douglas points out. the only thing that can make him think twice is a unified front that would include china and japan. there has been discussion about staying out of the g-8 summit in sochi. perhaps there should be discussion as we've heard some people talk about ousting russia from the g-8 and inviting china instead. there are a lot of things that can be done including with the help of the u.s. congress, a new round of sanctions. that seems to upset the russian leadership and those, of course, target individual russians in
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termts of where they can go and what overseas assets they can touch. there are a whole array of economic responses that could deliver the right message to putin, even if they don't get him to back down. >> michael hirsch, douglas br g brinkly, thank you so much for your perspective. we are awaiting a news conference from kiev from secretary of state, john kerry. we are joined by christiane amanpour. nato's secretary general once said that russia is violating its international commitments. russia continues to violate ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and its international commitments. >> i wiwhich is true under the buddha pest agreement of 1994 which we have talked about extensively. let's remember back then when the soviet union collapsed and all former soviet republics
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became independent states, they were important militarily. they had a whole arsenal that belonged to the soviet. they gave up voluntarily the nuclear arsenal and for that in return, the russians and the british and americans signed this agreement that guaranteed ukraine protection. it has given up its fiercest weapons. it needs to be protected. that was the deal. at the same time or in conjunction, the russians got to keep their base, their huge big black sea fleet there. there is treaty agreement in that regard. this was never in danger. there was never a moment when suddenly, these ukrainian authorities say, good-bye. we're not going to respect your sevastopol base. that remains there.
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under international law, the russians are scathe on very thin ice, if any ice at all. they are not meant to be invading a southern nation. >> how is the united states going to play this hockey game? we keep on hearing that the united states does have a lot in its tool box it can use to leverage authority and power and influence over russia right now? we are expecting to hear from secretary of state, john kerry, any minute from now. what tools do you expect him to pull out of that tool box? >> i'm not a very good handyman or as ice hockey. clearly, the united states leads the world. it is the super power and the leader of nato and the russians have a very intricate economy that is not like the cold war when these two nations were at loggerheads with multiple nuclear warheads pointed at each other, very different ideologies. it isn't like that anymore. it isn't. that has changed.
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although, vladimir putin does have this idea he wants to keep a strong sphere of influence in what they call their near abroad. keep as many of these ex soviet republics on site as possible. that ignores the wish and will of the people in the former soviet republics who have had a taste of freedom and economic opportunity and don't see their future with the former soviet union or today's russia. what the you states can do, they are not going to go to war. yes, there have been all these nato meetings. they clearly have not got a military option on the table. what secretary kerry has to do, flex as much u.s. leverage as possible, which involves economic, business, world trade. all those kinds of things as we keep watching them prepare for this press conference right there. also, the g-8. will russia be a member of the
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civilized nations or will it not? >> he has his work cut out for him. the united states is a trading partner with russia. it is not a major, major top three, top five trading partner with the united states. russia and europe are very closely intertwined. germany gets 3/4 of its gas and oil from russia. convincing the germans, the dutch, the british and the french to do any kind of sanctions will be very, very difficult. >> that's going to have to be looked at. they will have to work very hard. i remember could you having things like the first gulf war. it took quite a long time to get all nations to decide a response to a naked act of aggression by saddam hussein into kuwait. whether it was gathering the biggest armed forces to push saddam back. this is not the same situation. the diplomacy is difficult.
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it has to be the arch of the possible and what they can do to pressure and make it pay for this kind of violation. make isolation an issue. make it pay for this. secretary of state john kerry in kiev right now making a statement to the press. let's listen to what he has to say. good afternoon, everybody. let me say, first of all, how incredibly moving it was to walk down the street and to have a chance to pay my respects on behalf of president obama and the american people at the site
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of last month's deadly shootings. it was really quite remarkable. i have to tell you to see the barricades, see the tires and the barbed wire, see the bullet holes and street lamps, the extraordinary number of flowers. people still standing all over he, the shrouded vision in the clouds and fog of the buildings from which the shots came and the pictures, the photographs of those who lost their lives, people that put themselves. it was deeply moving to walk in to a group of ukrainians
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spontaneous to gather and listen to their pleas of passion for the right not to go back to life as it was under former president yanukovich, how poor they were and how the rich lived well and how the poor do. they came back determined to be able to live as he had seen other people live in other parts of the world. it it was very moving. it gave me a deep personal sense of how closely linked the people of ukraine are to not just americans but to people all across the world who today are asking for their rights, asking
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for the privilege to be able to live defining their own nation and defining their futures. that's what this is about. the united states extends our deepest condolences to those whose grief is still very fresh and those who lost loved ones, who bravely battled against snipers on roof tops and people armed against them with weapons they never dreamt of having. these brave ukrainians took to the streets in order to stand peacefully against tyranny and to demand democracy. so instead, they were met with the snipers, who picked them off one after the other as people of courage notwithstanding the bullets went out to get them, drive them to safety, give them comfort, expose themselves. they raised their voices for dignity and for freedom.
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what they stood for so bravely, i say with full conviction, will never be stolen by bullets or by invasions. it cannot be silenced. it is unmistakable. it is called freedom. today in another part of this country, we are in a new phase of the struggle for freedom. the united states reaffirms our commitment to ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by international law. we condemn the russian's acts of aggression and we have throughout this moment evidence of a great transformation taking place and in that transformation, we will stand with the people of ukraine.
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today, ukrainians are demanding a government with the consent of the people. i have to say that we all greatly admire the restraint the transitional government has shown as it makes this transition. they have shown restraint despite an invasion of ukrainian homeland and russian government that has chosen aggression and intimidation as a first report. the contrast could not be clearer. determined ukrainians demonstrating strength through unity and the russian government out of excuses, hooding its hand behind falsehoods, intimidation and provocations. in the hearts of ukrainians, in
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the eyes of the world, there is nothing strong about what russia is doing. so it is time to set the record straight, the russian government would have you believe it was the opposition who failed to implement the february 21st agreement that called for a peaceful transition, ignoring the reality that it was yanukovich, when history came calling, when his country was in need, when this city was the place where the action was, where the leaders of the nation were gathered in order to decide the future, he broke his obligation to sign that agreement and he fled into the night with his possessions destroying papers behind him. he abandoned his people and event will i his country.
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the russian government would have you believe that the ukraine government is illegitimate or led by extremists ignoring the reality that the rada representing the people of ukraine, the elected representatives of the people of ukraine, they overwhelmingly improve the new government even with members of yanukovich's party deserting him and voting overwhelmingly in order to approve this new government. it was thanks in part to yanukovich's own party that the future of ukraine changed. today, it is the most representative institution in ukraine. the russian government would also have you believe that the calm and friendly streets, one of which i walked down, but many of which i just drove through, that somehow these streets of
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kiev are actually dangerous ignoring the reality that there has been no surge in crime, no surge in looting. no political retribution here. the russian government would have you believe against all the evidence that there have been mass attacks on church. they would have you believe that ethnic russians and russian bases are threatened. they would have you believe that kiev is trying to destabilize crimea or that russian actions are legal or legitimate because crimean leaders invited intervention. as everybody knows, the soldiers in crimea, at the instruction of their government, have stood their ground but never fired a shot, never issued one
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provocation, have been surrounded by an invited group of troops much. that scene, an individual who got 3% of the vote installed as the so-called leader by the russians. they would have you believe that kiev is frying to destabilize crimea or somehow russian leaders invited intervention. not a single piece of credible evidence supports any one of these claims, none. the larger point is really this. it is diplomacy and respect for sovereignty, not unilateral force that can best solve disputes like this in the 21st
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century. president obama and i want to make it clear to russia and to everybody in the world, we are not seeking confrontation. there is a better way for russia to pursue its legitimate interests in ukraine. if you were legitimately worried about some of your citizens, then go to the government. talk to them about it. go to the u.s. raise the issue in the security council. go to the osce. raise one of the human rights organizations. there are countless outlets that an organized, structured, decent world has struggled to put together to resolve these differences so we don't see a nation unilaterally invade another nation. there is another way for russia to pursue its legitimate interests in ukraine. russia can choose to comply with international law and honor its
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commitments under the helsinki final act under the united nations charter. if it wants to help protect ethnic russians as it purports to and if they were threatened, with he would support effort to protect them as would, i am told, the government of ukraine. if they want to do that, russia could work with the religion it matt government of ukraine which it has pledged to do. it cannot only permit but must encourage international monitors to deploy throughout ukraine. these are the people that actually identify legitimate threats and we are asking, together with the government of ukraine, together with european community for large numbers of observers to come in here and monitor the situation and be the arbiters of truth versus
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fiction. russia, if it wanted to help deescalate this situation, could return its troops to the barracks, live by the 1997 base agreement and deescalate, rather than expand. now, we would prefer that. i come here today at the instruction of president obama to make it absolutely clear the united states of america would prefer to see this deescalated, managed through the structures of legal institutions, international institutions. we have worked many years in order to be able to deal with this kind of crisis. if russia does not choose to deescalate, if it is not willing to work directly with the government of ukraine as we hope they will be, then our partners will have absolutely no choice
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but to join us to continue to expand upon steps we have taken in recent days in order to isolate russia politically, diplomatically and economically. i would emphasize to the leaders of russia, this is not something we are seeking to do. this is something russia's choices may force us to do. so far, we have suspended participation in the preparations for the sochi g-8 summit. we have suspended military contacts. we have suspended bilateral economic dialogue. we are prepared to take further steps if russia does not return its forces to the barracks and engage in a legitimate policy of deescalation. at the same time, the united states and its partners are partners, will support ukraine. we will support it as it takes
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these steps to deal with its economy. i appreciate the meeting that i just had with the acting president and the prime minister and other leaders as we discussed how to strengthen the economy and move rapidly towards free, fair, open elections that can take place very shortly. we are working closely and we will continue to work closely with the imf team and with international partners in order to develop an assistance package to help ukraine restore financial stability in the short-run and to be able to grow its economy in the long-run. i'm pleased to say that this package includes an immediate $1 billion in a loan guarantee to support ukraine's economy. we are currently working with the treasury department of the united states and with others to lay out a broader, more compre
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men sie hen sieve plan. we will provide the best expertise available to help them repair themselves and to work towards these free, fair, fast, inclusive elections. we are also working with the interim government to help combat corruption and to recover stolen assets. we are helping ukraine to cope with russia's politically motivated trade practices, whether it is manipulating the energy supply toor banning the best made in ukraine. the fact is that this is the 21st century. we should not see nations step backwards to behave in 19th or 20th century fashion. there are ways to resolve these differences. great nations choose to do that
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appropriately. the fact is that we believe that there are a set of options available to russia and all of us that could move us down a road with appropriate diplomacy, appropriate diplomatic engagement. we invite russia to come to that table, particularly invite russia to engage directly with the government of ukraine because i am confident they are prepared to help work through these issue in a thoughtful way. i am very proud to be here in ukraine like so many americans and other people around the world. we watch with extraordinary awe the power of individuals unarmed except with ideas, people with beliefs, principles, values, who have reached for freedom, equality, opportunity. there is nothing more important
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in this world. that is what drives change in so many parts of the world today. it is partly why the world is in such a state of transformation in so many different places at the same time. we are all connected. we all understand what other people are doing and the choices they have and the lives they get to lead. all over the world, young people are saying, we do not want to be deprived of those opportunities. that's what this is about. it is about all those that value democracy and who support the opportunity for this country to join legions of others who want to practice it. the united states will stand by the ukrainian people as they build a strong, sovereign, and democratic country they deserve and that their countrymen and women gave their lives in order to ensure for the future. we must all step up and answer
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their call. i am happy to ache some questions. >> andrea mitchell, nbc. >> you have been saying the people will be isolated by his actions yet today he seemed defiant speaking for an hour, taking questions and said, among other things, that russia deserves the right to take any action. he described the guns here as an unconstitution unconstitution unconstitutional coop. >> he really denied there were troops in crimea. >> reporter: yes, he did. he also claimed and said that the united states was acting as though it was conducting an experiment across the ocean.
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and he showed no sign of being ready to step down or step down or deescalate the presence in crimea. there have been shots fired today. there was a presence reported of russian ships along the ismus between ukraine and crimea. with all of that, how has the u.s. pressure worked? also, while you were here, you met with many leaders. you did not meet with yulia tomashenko. is she viewed as part of the solution? >> let me answer the last part of the question first. not at all. i thought i actually might bump into her but i didn't. i had meetings with the current group that represent the parties
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that have come together. most likely, those with whom i have been in touch and working with. i've met with a number of them in munich previously. so we continued that conversation. but with respect to president putin's comments, you know, i have spoken as directly to president putin today as i can. to invite him to engage in a legitimate and appropriate dialogue particularly with the current government of ukraine knowing that there is election in 90 days and the people of ukraine will have an opportunity to ratify their feature leadership. the fact is, in the eastern part of the country, russia recently
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tried to get a couple of city councils to actually pass something asking for russians to come in. lo and behold, those councils did the opposite. they said, we don't want russia to come in. we want our independence. i think it is clear that russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further. russia has talked about russian-speaking minority that are under siege. they are not. this government has acted remarkably responsibly by urging total calm and not wanting any provocation, by avoiding even their troops who have a legal right to resist the invasion of other troops. but has ordered them not to engage to give a pretext of anybody being in danger.
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here in the streets today, i didn't see anybody who feels threatened, except for the potential of an invasion by russia. i would hope that president putin. >> we're going to shift gears and go to president obama, who is at an event in washington. he is also speaking about the ukraine. let's listen to the president. >> through international mechanisms. we are prepared to make sure the rights of all ukrainians are upheld. in the conversations we have had with the government in kiev, they have been more than willing to work with the international community and russia to provide such assurances. what's happening there is not
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based on actual concern for the nationals. they are acting through force to exert influence on the neighboring country. that is not how international law is supposed to operate. i would also note just way that some of this has been reported, that this is a suggestion that somehow the russian actions have been clever strategically. i actually think that this is not been a sign of strength but rather is a reflection that countries near russia have deep concerns about this kind of medaling. if anything, it will push many countries further away from russia. there is the ability for the ukraine to be a friend of the
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wist and a friend of russia's as long as none of us are inside of with decisions that properly belong to the ukrainian people. and that's the principle that john kerry is going to be speaking to during his visit. i'll be making additional calls today to some of our key foreign partners, and i suspect i'll be doing that all week and in through the weekend. but as i indicated yesterday, you know, the course of history is for people who want to be free to make their own decisions about their own futures. and the international community, i think, is unified in believing that it is not the role of an outside force where there's been no evidence of serious violence, where there has been no rationale under international
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law to intervene and people trying to determine their own destiny. so we stand on the side of history that i think more and more people around the world deeply believe in. the principle that a sovereign people, an independent people, are able to make their own decisions about their own lives. and, you know, mr. putin can through a lot of words out there. but the facts on the ground indicate that right now he's not abiding by that principle. there is still the opportunity for russia to do so, working with the international community, to help stabilize the situation. and we have sent a clear message that we are prepared to work with anybody if their genuine interest is making sure that ukraine is able to govern itself. and as i indicated before, and something i think has not been emphasized enough, they are currently scheduled to have elections in may.
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and everybody in the international community should be invested in making sure that the economic deterioration that's happening in the ukraine stops, but also that these elections proceed in a fair and freeway in which all ukrainions, including russian speakers inside of ukraine are able to express their choice of who should lead them. and if we have a strong, robust, legitimate election, then there shouldn't be any question as to whether the ukrainian people govern themselves without the kinds of outside interference that we see russia exerting. all right? thank you very much, everybody. >> all right. that was president obama in washington, d.c. he was speaking about the situation in ukraine right now. just a few minutes before that, we were listening to secretary of state john kerry in kiev, talking about the crisis in ukraine. their message, very much the same, even though the tone a
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little bit different. president obama, i think, a little bit more measured than secretary of state john kerry. but the message seemed to be that what the russians are saying is very different than what the reality on the ground. secretary of state john kerry said it most starkly. he said the russians are hiding behind falsehood, intimidation and provocation. the russians are saying that they're there on a humanitarian mission to defend ethnic russians in the ukraine. secretary of state john kerry said there is not a single piece of credible evidence that supports these claims. i'm joined by christiane amanpo amanpour, and spider marks, military analyst. christiane, your impressions from the two foreign policy leaders. >> direct rebuttal of what president putin said today and over the last week. direct rebuttal. as you said, they have absolutely negated any of the stuff that putin has been saying as justification for all of this. using the words that you just said. direct falsehoods by president
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putin and the russians. putin want today that our western partners, why are they doing this in the ukraine. quote, i have a feeling in america some people sit in some lab doing experiments like on rats without knowing the consequences. why do they need to do this? nobody has an explanation. well, secretary of state john kerry and president obama just gave the explanation. they stand on the side of the legitimate aspirations of the ukrainian people. the restraint shown by the interim legitimate government and the violation of international law that the russians have shown. >> in both the president and the secretary made the point that russia has a way to speak its grievances if it does happen. take them to the united nations, take them to the various international bodies. put in international monitors in the ukraine. and while they are talking about this, spider, there is still this situation on the ground in crimea. we have been looking at pictures over the last 24, 48 hours of troops. these russian troops we assume. these people in green uniforms,
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vladimir putin denies they're russian. everybody else on planet earth thinks they're russian right now. we saw shots fired in the air right now. it seems to me, as calm as it's been, relatively speaking, we are one miscalculation away from it spiralling out of control. >> john, good point. any time any good soldier acts to provide a warning shot, which is how these were described, you've already had a breakdown of discipline. any time anybody is willing to take a weapon off save and put a finger on a trigger, all it is a matter of adjusting your aim. and now you have an international incident that gets well beyond where we are right now. so truly, these troops on the ground are conventional forces. i would imagine they're not special operations forces. they're as well-be trained as they can be, which means at a certain level of readiness. but it is a real tinder box. anybody can push and anybody can pull at any moment. and with the fire power that exists right there in crimea, you could have a problem that gets well beyond where we are right now. >> christiane, we have a minute. i want the to give you the last poured.
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it seems to me what we have had happen today, to have all the principles speak out loud, really for the first time since this crisis escalated. you have been through a lot of these situations, admittedly, this may be the most dire since the cold ware. what's the next step, in your experience? >> what spider just said, secretary kerry insisted that putin immediately send these troops back to barracks, immediately send them back to barracks, so there is none of this miscalculation. the ukrainians will stay restrained. not only do they have nothing to gain by getting involved, because they cannot fight and win against the russian forces. secretary kerry outlined a diplomatic off-ramp for the russians. you know, talk to the ukrainian counterparts, discuss this, or to the u.n., or all the other international monitors. he's calling for the russians to allow, and ukrainians a monitoring force in to separate fact from fiction. otherwise, he said, the united states and its allies will continue its diplomatic economic
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and political isolation of russia. >> will the russians take that diplomatic off-ramp? cnn will be covering this. developments happening minute by minute here. so stay with cnn all day. thanks for watching at this hour. "legal view" with ashleigh banfield starts right after this. dentures are very different to real teeth. they're about 10 times softer and may have surface pores where bacteria can multiply. polident kills 99.99% of odor causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains. that's why i recommend polident. [ male announcer ] cleaner, fresher, brighter every day.
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tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, and if you are pregnant, or plan to be. taken twice daily, xeljanz can reduce the joint pain and swelling of moderate to severe ra, even without methotrexate. ask if xeljanz is right for you. this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, everyone. and welcome to our it continuing breaking news coverage of the situation that is escalating in the ukraine. there are movements that are fast and furious. american leadership not only in the region now in the way of our secretary of state, but also the president of the united states taking to the live airways to comment specifically on the russian encouragement into the crimean peninsula. what it means not only for russia, the international community, but also for ukrainians themselves as they head forward towards elections. the president made specific references